In the early 16th century, Hernan Cortes and his army of conquistadors were prepping themselves to invade, and ultimately conquer the Aztec empire. As the soldiers prepared for battle, their ships sat anchored off the coast of what is now Veracruz, in plain sight of his anxious troops.
If all else failed, they thought, they could make a quick getaway to the ships and sail to safety. Cortes realized that some in his crew where getting uneasy, and ordered that the ships be scuttled. Knowing that they would be faced with only two options—fight to survive, or die.
On Thursday, Chief Justice John Roberts sided with the majority opinion to uphold Obamacare, writing that the individual mandate is equivalent to a tax, and therefore, constitutional.
For months prior to the ruling, as Mitt Romney made his way through the GOP primaries, the debate over both Obamacare and Romneycare loomed as a political sticking point for his campaign (and for the Obama campaign as well).
As the case against the law made its way through the federal courts, speculation built that it would head to the supremes and the belief that the court would strike down the individual mandate, and thus, the entire mess of it, grew stronger.
Personally, I felt that if the court struck down the law, it wouldn’t be the dominant issue that Romney had to deal with during the campaign. I’m sure this suited most conservative s and Republicans just fine.
I didn’t see how Romney could honestly make a case against Obamacare after his Romneycare experiment in Massachusetts. Making this argument eventually would end up doing more harm than good for Romney.
But John Roberts scuttled our ship. With the stroke of a pen, the lines in our political battle were redrawn.
The campaign is now about (or should be about) those who want to repeal Obamacare in its entirety, and those who want to embrace and keep this monstrosity of a law, along with its onerous regulations, bureaucracy and a price tag of over $1 trillion.
This makes things interesting for Democrats this election season. Democrats now have to make the case for defending Obamacare and embrace this law during their town halls and campaign stops this summer and fall. All this with high unemployment, an anemic economy and a toxic President. Good luck with that, Democrats.
If this is going to be an honest debate, I encourage the Democrats defend all aspects of the law. But of course, they’d rather talk about the long list of Obamacare ‘benefits’, and not about the reality of its costs. And certainly not the fact that Obamacare is about more government control and numerous new taxes, taxes that eventually will be paid for by the majority of taxpaying Americans, which is to say, the middle class. In fact, despite the court’s ruling, the White House is already trying to twist the truth.
As for Republicans and conservatives, I agree with Paul Ryan. This is our last chance. Democrats have their hands full, but as a party the GOP have to have the right conditions–the White House, a majority in the Senate, and build on gains in the House. On top of that, the Republicans need leadership with intestinal fortitude to make the right decisions when all of that is obtained. Remember, repealing Obamacare was a priority of the 2010 campaign also.
Repealing Obamacare means catching lightning in a bottle and it needs to happen within the next year. If all the conditions are met, there should be no reason why it can’t happen over the next twelve months. I for one, don’t trust politicians enough to play a waiting game. The repeal process is like cement, the longer we wait, the harder it is to remove. Just like the conquistadors, there is no turning back. The America we know is at stake.
I was reminded of one of the more egregious features of Obamacare while watching this interview with one Julie Rovner from NPR, on News Hour last night.
The new health care reform law that President Obama signed last year not only expands the number of people who get coverage, it also requires the secretary of health and human services to determine which preventive benefits should be provided by all insurers.
There were three categories of preventive care that were automatically covered [under the new law]…
There was a fourth category that was listed — that came about because Sen. Barbara Mikulski from Maryland actually got an amendment added that the secretary would have discretion to add, and these would be preventive services for women, because over the years preventive services for women have thought to have been left out by the Preventive Health Services Task Force.
And those were left to the secretary’s discretion.
[The HHS Secretary] is determining — first she’s going to determine whether this will be part of this preventive health package that will be made available with no co-pays, but she’s also determining these essential — what kind of things will be included in the essential benefits package.
The story focuses on contraception being left to the HHS Secretary’s discretion as to whether it’s included in government-subsidized healthcare, ie taxpayer-funded healthcare. But let’s not kid ourselves. Going forward, this will morph into other controversial services being covered at the whim of the HHS secretary. Someone who’s unelected and unaccountable to anyone, playing politics with an industry that accounts for nearly 15% of the economy.
Where are the liberals screaming about imperialism in the government?
In case you missed it, the WSJ ran a scathing op-ed on Romney’s primary failing as a candidate for the GOP nomination–Romneycare.
Here’s the gist:
For a potential President whose core argument is that he knows how to revive free market economic growth, this amounts to a fatal flaw. Presidents lead by offering a vision for the country rooted in certain principles, not by promising a technocracy that runs on “data.” Mr. Romney’s highest principle seems to be faith in his own expertise.
More immediately for his Republican candidacy, the debate over ObamaCare and the larger entitlement state may be the central question of the 2012 election. On that question, Mr. Romney is compromised and not credible.
Read the whole thing, it really is a telling piece.
Meanwhile, he has punched back at the Journal.
And here’s the money quote:
It is difficult to imagine that a nation which began, at least in part, as the result of opposition to a British mandate giving the East India Company a monopoly and imposing a nominal tax on all tea sold in America would have set out to create a government with the power to force people to buy tea in the first place.
If Congress can penalize a passive individual for failing to engage in commerce, the enumeration of powers in the Constitution would have been in vain for it would be “difficult to perceive any limitation on federal power” [...] and we would have a Constitution in name only. Surely this is not what the Founding Fathers could have intended.
Judge Roger Vinson issued the ruling earlier today:
Vinson rejects the administration’s argument that the health care market is unique since nobody can truly opt out. Vinson mocks this argument a bit, writing: “Everyone must participate in the food market… under this logic, Congress could [mandate] that every adult purchase and consume wheat bread daily.” Later he offers another analogy: “Congress could require that everyone above a certain income threshold buy a General Motors automobile — now partially government-owned — because those who do not buy GM cars (or those who buy foreign cars) are adversely impacting commerce and a taxpayer-subsidized business.”
Vinson concludes: “The individual mandate exceeds Congress’ commerce power, as it is understood, defined, and applied in the existing Supreme Court case law.”
As the piece notes, the law will probably end up in front of the Supreme Court at some point.
UPDATE. This is a bit inconvenient:
In ruling against President Obama‘s health care law, federal Judge Roger Vinson used Mr. Obama‘s own position from the 2008 campaign against him, when the then-Illinois senator argued there were other ways to achieve reform short of requiring every American to purchase insurance.
“I note that in 2008, then-Senator Obama supported a health care reform proposal that did not include an individual mandate because he was at that time strongly opposed to the idea, stating that, ‘If a mandate was the solution, we can try that to solve homelessness by mandating everybody to buy a house,’” Judge Vinson wrote in a footnote toward the end of his 78-page ruling Monday.
Here’s a glaring case of waffleitis on the part of a Democrat politician, doing the opposite of what he proposed as a candidate. I wonder if anyone outside the conservative commentariat will
notice point this out?
And just as an aside, if a Federal court deems a statute unconstitutional, shouldn’t that require the executive branch to immediately cease enforcing said statute? I’m waiting for the wailing and lamentations from the virtuous left about respecting the judiciary branch of government and the Constitution in 3…2…1…
[Hat Tip: The Other McCain]
“The goal, backers said, is to underscore the limited-government rules the Founders imposed on Congress – and to try to bring some of those principles back into everyday legislating.
“It stems from the debate that we’ve had for the last two years about things like the exercise of authority in a whole host of different areas by the EPA, we’ve had this debate in relation to the health care bill, the cap-and-trade legislation,” said Rep. Robert W. Goodlatte, Virginia Republican, who proposed the reading. “This Congress has been very aggressive in expanding the power of the federal government, and there’s been a big backlash to that.”
Setting aside time at the beginning of the congressional session for the reading is just one of the changes to House rules that Republicans say are designed to open up the legislative process. They say the new rules also will try to bring some restraints to lawmaking after decades in which both Republican and Democratic leaders whittled away opportunities for real legislative give-and-take.
The biggest changes would make it easier to cut spending and harder to create entitlement programs, while imposing restrictions that could keep leaders from jamming massive bills onto the House floor before lawmakers have had a chance to digest them.
This is all well and good, but reading the Constitution is one thing. Governing based on its principles is quite another.
Voters need to keep an eye on what our representatives do in Congress, as well as what they say. I’ve read that the Republican party is on probation in this Congress, and I agree with that.
The Tea Party is the proverbial tail trying to wag the Republican Party dog, not the other way around. And to paraphrase Bart Simpson, Washington D.C. is a hideous bitch goddess. Tea Partiers in Congress are only human after all (with the exception of Congressman-elect Allen West) , and are susceptible to its free-spending and corrupt ways. These things can happen in spite of the symbolism of reading the Constitution out loud.
That being said, I am as cynical as they come, and I would love to be proven wrong.
[Hat Tip: Hot Air Headlines]
UPDATE. When the House Republicans are done reading the Constitution, they may want to figure out how to fight and beat the Obama adminstration on political battles like this:
When a proposal to encourage end-of-life planning touched off a political storm over “death panels,” Democrats dropped it from legislation to overhaul the health care system. But the Obama administration will achieve the same goal by regulation, starting Jan. 1.
Under the new policy, outlined in a Medicare regulation, the government will pay doctors who advise patients on options for end-of-life care, which may include advance directives to forgo aggressive life-sustaining treatment.
Congressional supporters of the new policy, though pleased, have kept quiet. They fear provoking another furor like the one in 2009 when Republicans seized on the idea of end-of-life counseling to argue that the Democrats’ bill would allow the government to cut off care for the critically ill.
The final version of the health care legislation, signed into law by President Obama in March, authorized Medicare coverage of yearly physical examinations, or wellness visits. The new rule says Medicare will cover “voluntary advance care planning,” to discuss end-of-life treatment, as part of the annual visit.
More to the point of my original post, does the new House majority have the backbone to go to the mattresses on these issues?
Ed Morrissey writes:
This is just the opening gambit of a strategy Obama will use throughout the coming year in order to achieve through regulation what a Democrat-run Congress could not deliver through legislation. The new Republican House will have to use its power of the purse to stop this autocratic imposition of regulation, and remain vigilant in doing so on all fronts. Let’s hope the GOP gets used to fighting this process over the next two years.
Yes, let’s hope.
Not a death-blow yet, but a massive kick in the groin:
The Obama administration’s requirement that most citizens maintain minimum health coverage as part of a broad overhaul of the industry is unconstitutional because it forces people to buy insurance, a federal judge ruled, striking down the linchpin of the president’s plan.
U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson in Richmond, Virginia, said today that the requirement in President Barack Obama’s health-care legislation goes beyond Congress’s powers to regulate interstate commerce. While severing the coverage mandate, Hudson didn’t address other provisions such as expanding Medicaid that are unrelated to it. He didn’t order the government to stop work on putting the remainder of the law into effect.
This is huge, and I’m sure the Obama administration will try to appeal the decision. The law’s other provisions remain in tact, but the premise of the legislation, that the pool of the insured needs to increase in order to lower costs, depended on the individual mandate.
Just hit the wire:
States can proceed with their lawsuit seeking to overturn President Barack Obama’s landmark reform law, a Florida judge ruled on Thursday.
U.S. District Judge Roger Vinson had already indicated at a hearing last month that he would reject parts of a motion by the Justice Department to dismiss the lawsuit, led by Florida and 19 other states.
The suit was originally filed in March by mostly Republic state attorneys general.
In his formal ruling on Thursday, Vinson said the case would continue as scheduled. He had previously set a hearing for December 16.
With the passage of Prop C as a backdrop, Michael Barone sifts through the results from this past Tuesday’s primaries, and what appears to be serious trouble for Obama and the Democrats:
Heavy Republican turnout helps account for the 71%-29% majority for Missouri’s Proposition C, which purports to ban any mandate to buy health insurance. But it doesn’t explain the whole thing.
[...] Proposition C carried all 115 counties in Missouri (St. Louis City is separate and apart from St. Louis County, which voted for C; Kansas City, whose results are reported separately, is part of Jackson County, which as a whole voted for it as well. To have the mandate rejected by 71% of voters in a state Obama missed carrying by only 0.2% is a pretty devastating result.
What does Chuck Schumer think about all of this?
Democrats and the media can spin this all they want. It’s looking more and more likely that there really is a groundswell of voter dissatisfaction out there for Democrats and their left-wing agenda.
It’s one battle in what will be a long fight against Obamacare:
Missouri voters on Tuesday overwhelmingly rejected a federal mandate to purchase health insurance, rebuking President Barack Obama’s administration and giving Republicans their first political victory in a national campaign to overturn the controversial health care law passed by Congress in March.
“The citizens of the Show-Me State don’t want Washington involved in their health care decisions,” said Sen. Jane Cunningham, R-Chesterfield, one of the sponsors of the legislation that put Proposition C on the August ballot. She credited a grass-roots campaign involving Tea Party and patriot groups with building support for the anti-Washington proposition.
With most of the vote counted, Proposition C was winning by a ratio of nearly 3 to 1. The measure, which seeks to exempt Missouri from the insurance mandate in the new health care law, includes a provision that would change how insurance companies that go out of business in Missouri liquidate their assets.
“I’ve never seen anything like it,” Cunningham said at a campaign gathering at a private home in Town and Country. “Citizens wanted their voices to be heard.”
Ed Morrissey breaks down the results:
How big was this victory? Three weeks ago, Rasmussen polled likely voters in Missouri and asked whether they supported repeal of ObamaCare. At that time, 58% said they supported its repeal, with 50% strongly supporting it. Thirty-eight percent said they opposed repeal. That 58/38 split turned into a 71/29 disaster for Democrats and Obama.
Even Rasmussen may be underestimating the power of ObamaCare repeal in its likely-voter turnout, as their last poll on this question in Missouri clearly underestimated (in an indirect survey, of course) the results for this election.
Bear in mind that over 315,000 Democrats turned out to cast ballots in the primary that nominated Robin Carnahan, while over 577,000 Republicans hit the polls. That is about a 65/35 split — which means that a significant amount of Democrats either supported the ballot measure repudiating ObamaCare, or didn’t bother to cast a vote to defend the program. Actually, Prop C got more votes than the combined voting in both Senate primaries — which tells us something even more about the passion in the electorate.
Democrats may have to hit the panic button after seeing the results from this swing state. ObamaCare set fire to the electorate last year, and that may be an inferno for Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid in November.
As goes Missouri, so goes the nation?
Like I said, this is great news. But I remain pessimistic on the probability of repeal. So much has to fall into place for repeal with teeth to happen. Republicans need a massive victory in November. That includes the Tea Partiers, who better make a big splash in November, if they want to be taken seriously. Other state referendums need to be won.
But more to Morrissey’s point, and this is good to see, the Obamacare push-back appears to be hammering Democrats even harder than expected.
This is a great first step. But it’s a first step in a long walk nonetheless.
The road to the White House is a bit problematic for the creator of Masscare:
How do you run as the candidate of the party of repeal, when what you want to repeal is a federal version of your own signature initiative? Masscare may be to Romney in 2012 what abortion was in 2008—an issue where a critical mass of conservatives don’t quite buy his explanations [...]
The best thing for Romney to say, I think, is that he flat-out made a mistake, that he tried an idea that ran off the rails. It would also have the advantage of being true. But he can’t bring himself to go there yet.
Lowry makes a fair point. But Obamacare is likely to grow into a bigger hot button issue than it already is. If that’s the case, I find it hard to see a situation where Romney can dodge this monster of his own creation, no matter how quickly he rips the band-aid off. Methinks healthcare touches such a nerve with the Republican base that they won’t be willing to let him live it down.